Here’s a culinary credo that applies to both seniors and their Baby Boomer children: you need a healthy diet for a healthy life. When it comes to food, we can’t ignore the facts — or the science. Research shows a healthy diet could help prevent a number of health problems, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Adopting a disease-fighting diet is easier than you think. When you shop, choose fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains, such as brown rice and whole-wheat bread. Avoid foods high in sugar and fat. Here are some tips for arming yourself against disease with good-for-you foods:
Follow the Food Guide Pyramid – This is the federally recommended guideline for creating a balanced daily diet. It is a good starting place for creating a meal plan. It recommends 2-3 servings of milk, yogurt or cheese; 2-3 servings of meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, or nuts; 2-4 servings of fruit; 3-5 servings of vegetables; and 6-11 servings of bread, cereal, rice, or pasta.
Think color – When it comes to fruit and vegetables, eat lots of deep-colored produce. The darker colored produce is especially rich in antioxidants that can protect you against diseases like cancer and heart disease, according to the American Dietetic Association.
Remember fiber – Eating lots of fruits and vegetables will give your body extra water and fiber, which will help keep your digestive tract clean and healthy. Beans, bran, whole-grain breads and brown rice, and high-fiber cereals are also good sources of fiber.
Make good bacteria your friend – Fermented foods like yogurt are especially good for you as you get older because they contain “good” bacteria that keep your digestive tract healthy.
Eat “good” oils – Your body needs some fats to stay healthy, but saturated and trans-fats can be very unhealthy. Instead, replace these “bad” fats with “heart-healthy” fats like fish oil (salmon and sardines are particularly good for Omega 3 oils) and vegetable oils like Olive and Canola Oil.
Try soy – Eating about one to two ounces of soy protein daily can help lower cholesterol and unhealthy fat in your diet and protect you from heart disease. You can find many different soy products, which come from soybeans, in your food store. The most popular are tofu, soy milk (in different flavors), and soy “meat” products like soy burgers.
Drink plenty of water – To stay healthy, drink at least eight glasses of water daily.
Don’t abstain if you don’t have to – Beer and red wine, in moderation, are another rich source of antioxidants. One glass a day for women and two for men can be “heart-healthy.”
Eating right will take the weight off – Following a healthy diet, along with regular exercise, will prevent you from gaining weight, which is important for good health. Losing 10 percent of your body weight, for instance, could be enough to lower your cholesterol. Choose healthy foods for a longer and healthier life!
Hallmark Homecare caregivers can provide you or your aging loved one with delicious, balanced meals that help seniors stay healthy, active and independent. Contact Hallmark Homecare to request a free, no-obligation phone consultation with one of our experienced Care Coordinators. We can provide you with information and assistance in determining the best and most affordable care for your situation.